Teaching Strategies

Modality

Modality qualifies how true or certain a statement is. Skilled writers uses modality to establish social relationships with their readers so that they will be open to the messages of the text. For example notice the differing modality in the following sentences:
It is possible that overfishing may harm our fish stocks in the future. Overfishing will certainly harm our fish stocks in the future.

To write about the degree of certainty of something happening we use modal verbs.

may will might must should ought to
can could shall would has to need to

Instructions:

  1. Talk with a partner and then write the modal auxiliaries listed above in the appropriate box.

    High degree of certainty Medium degree of certainty Low degree of certainty
         


    Modals are formed by using one of the auxiliaries above plus a verb.



  2. Highlight all the modal auxiliaries in 'Should junk foods be banned in the school canteen?'

  3. Write 3 sentences below using a modal auxiliary plus a verb that you could use in an argument about should junk foods be taxed. Underline the modal auxiliary and the verb as above.










    Degrees of certainty in arguments can also be written about using modal nouns, adjectives and adverbs. Some of the ones that are useful for writing arguments are listed below.

  4. Complete the spaces in the chart below.

    Nouns
    Adjectives
    Adverbs
      possible  
    probability    
      obligatory  
    necessity    
      required  
        perhaps
        maybe
        sometimes
        certainly
        definitely


  5. Highlight all the modal nouns, adjectives and adverbs in 'Should junk foods be banned in the school canteen?'

  6. Write 3 sentences for an argument on the topic "should junk foods be taxed". Try to use one noun, one adjective and an adverb in the third sentence. Underline the modal in each sentence.